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Mickey_PosterMICKEY was the only production of the Mabel Normand Feature Film Company, a sop set up by her fiance Mack Sennett when she caught him philandering. One story was that a flying vase injured her, another was that it was a stunt accident during filming. Whatever, it caused a rift between the two stars.

The film MICKEY took two years to complete because of various illnesses of the star. Not sure the story here, Turner Classic host Ben Mankiewicz may just have been discreet when he referred to them as “various illnesses” in his introduction. Other sources claim mental illness was the main cause of delays.

The film was a rousing success, the highest grossing film of 1918 on a budget of a quarter million dollars. A song of the same title was written to accompany the film. It was restored by some outfit called CineMuseum.

The plot is simple. tomboyish girl is raised by miners after her father’s death, constantly getting into one pickle after another. After one incident with her dog in which the police wanted to kill the animal causing a huge furor, the miner who’d been her father’s partner thought she needed more ladylike schooling and wrote a letter to an aunt living in New York.

Mickey is the kind of girl instantly likable despite her troublesome proclivities. One such person she meets is Herbert Thornhill(Wheeler Oakman), an East coast young millionaire out west on business for his family. An instant attraction that ends shortly. But not for long.

Mickey’s family back east had fallen on hard times, but one must keep up appearances. When the letter arrives and she sees the word gold mine in it, the aunt, Mrs. Geoffrey Drake(Laura Lavarnie) sees a chance to revive her family’s fortunes. Unfortunately the mine isn’t very good and once that is realized, Mickey becomes a virtual servant in her family’s home. And she’s getting unwelcome advances from the brutish Reggie Drake(Lewis Cody).

Herbert’s family, it turns out, have their own financial problems. His father sees an arrangement where his son marries the Drake daughter, Elsie(Minta Durffy).

When Herbert runs into Mickey, they renew their former relationship(Herbert thought she’d deserted him) and He learns that his millions are gone(Elsie promptly breaks their engagement when she learns that). Reggie is trying to ruin Herbert in order to force marriage out of Mickey.

All’s well in the end of course. How could a good romance end any other way?

For other overlooked movies and related matters, drop in every Tuesday on Todd Mason at SWEET FREEDOM.

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